MUZAFFARGARH: This time, four females from Muzaffargarh, Kot Addu, and Layyah districts are contesting elections from different parties.

The noteworthy shift is that they are actively engaging with the public and addressing them daily to seek their votes. Earlier, only the family elders would run campaign for them.

The Muzaffargarh district holds the distinction of having elected female representatives in 1990, 2002 and 2008 elections. In 1990, Sumaria Rabbani Khar was elected an MPA in a by-election. In 2002, Hina Rabbani Khar and Khalida Mohsin reached the National Assembly after defeating their rivals and in 2008, Ms Khar retained her constituency. In 2018, the mother of former parliamentarians Basit Bukhari and Haroon Bukhari was elected an MPA.

Now, in Muzaffargarh district’s NA-177, Syeda Shehr Bano Bukhari is a PML-N candidate. She is the daughter of Basit Bukhari from Jatoi tehsil, and this is going to be her first election. She was fielded as a candidate after his father won two PML-N tickets for as many NA seats. Instead of contesting elections on both seats, Mr Bukhari fielded his daughter.

She is running her campaign, relying on their family connections, and the past development works.

In NA-175, independent candidate Shamsa Kanwal, daughter of the late businessman Haji Sajjad Qureshi, alias Italy Wala, is campaigning tirelessly, going door-to-door and assisting poor families.

In Kot Addu tehsil, Nadia Farooq Khar, daughter of the late ex-MPA Malik Farooq Khar, is contesting the election on a PTI ticket for PP-275. Her father and later cousin Jawad Khar, retained the constituency from 1997 to 2008. Despite her limited public exposure, Ms Khar is relying on underground promises from youngsters and the strong public relation of her father.

In NA-181 from Layyah district, PTI candidate Amber Majeed Niazi was forced into elections after the crackdown on PTI activists. Her husband, Majeed Niazi, who won the NA seat in the previous elections, has been in hiding since May last.

Ms Niazi said she is facing multiple challenges, including threats to her son, and police action against her campaign. Ex-MNA Abdul Majeed Niazi stood firm against administration warnings. She said the Layyah police registered a case against her son, Abdul Raheem Niazi, and MPA candidate, along with 70 others, for holding a rally in Qaziabad. She said the administration had warned her of consequence if she went ahead with campaigning.

In the last elections, the PTI had awarded provincial assembly seat ticket to Nosheen Arshad Qalandrani and an NA ticket to Tehmeena Dasti, the daughter of the late parliamentarian Amjad Hameed Dasti, in Muzaffargarh district.

It is, however, former foreign minister Hina Khar, who as a candidate and later as a helping hand to her father Rabbani Khar and brother Raza Khar, broke the tradition of avoiding public appearances.

A week ago, she appeared at a PPP rally in Kot Addu along with PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, earning applause from the constituents. She is set to address PPP rallies in the district this week.

The change reflects a shift in voter preferences, with the electorate now wanting candidates to engage publicly.


To find your constituency and location of your polling booth, SMS your NIC number (no spaces) to 8300. Once you know your constituency, visit the ECP website here for candidates.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2024

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